Which Core Workout is Best For My Back?

I work with a variety of clients that come from the yoga or pilates world. Usually, these individuals are looking for some other ways to help their back feel better. They are ready to embrace strengthening practice.


Many times, we go into a discussion of what they believe is the right core exercise for the back. It is understandable since they have been influenced by what they learned in practicing yoga and pilates for many years. I was there myself when I was doing only yoga. As I started opening to other possibilities and pursuing many certifications of various movement and strength-based modalities, I decided to view these questions from the "why" prospective instead of "the right way" for the core workout.


Now to the nitty gritty of this dilemma:


Have you heard these cues before?


Lower back down on the ground or keep the space?

Which one is “right”?


The answer? IT DEPENDS.


One is not better for your body than the other — it depends on what your goal is with the exercise, what your default posture is, what your movement practice is and many other factors. That is why I spend time to get to know my clients through their movement assessment, posture evaluation and understanding their goals and health history. It is crucial in my work of helping my clients to live the life they choose at 40 and above. You can sign up for your Complimentary Discovery Call!


When I meet with the new clients, "my posture is bad" comes up a lot. I can learn a lot about my client's story by asking them what they really mean by this statement. Their answers and movement assessment help me determine their workout program and breathing strategies that are essential on their journey to success as we work together.


When the goal is to maintain the posture such as head, shoulders, ribs and pelvis are stacked up, then training your deep core (all the core muscles) in the neutral pelvis is a great strategy. What is the neutral pelvis? There is a lot more to defining the neutral pelvis but whey you lie down on the floor to do your core exercise, it will mean that your back will have a little bit of space. How much? Imagine a few frozen blueberries under your lumbar spine. Of course, it may slightly vary from person to person.


Have you tried to do your core exercises with a neutral pelvis (maintaining space underneath), it is much HARDER! However, this core work will be more translatable to mainlining a stacked up alignment throughout the day.


Shall we train our core muscles with the back pressed onto the ground? It depends. In this position, the pelvis is in a more posterior tilt. What is your default posture. I see a lot of women whose default posture is already in a posterior tilt. Does it mean that they are strong in that position? Not necessarily. Of course, I test that!


In conclusion, position matters for many reasons. It matters because every position recruits a different set of muscles. I am all about creating options to increase movement potential to handle various positions in life. Imaging this situation: you lost your car keys under the car, will you be thinking what position to take to get the keys? Probably not. I cannot predict which position your back will take at that moment. I am not a fortune teller! That is why, I love exploring various positions and get strong in all of them so I can bend over to get the keys and do not worry about tweaking my back.


I have also noticed that many of my clients transform their attitude towards their body and movement in general as they stronger, aware, capable and more confident. They are more willing to experiment and are not afraid of some every day tasks that caused fear of tweaking their back.


Yes, movement is therapeutic! Strength is magical! I am blessed to be your magical guide for feeling strong, able and well to chose the active life you want at 40+.



P.S. Word of advice: Run away from coaches who promote the only way is the right way or ask them their reasoning behind their strategy. If it makes sense to you, then you know the WHY that also makes sense to you. Having an open dialogue with your strength training coach should be an "open door" policy.




Check out my Core 4 Wellness Online Course to Learn more!





Enjoy this explorative practice of mobilizing your hips and moving pelvis in a variety of ways. Then notice how you feel.


Would love your comments!




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